Fantasy football players have one last Sunday to set lineups before closing shop. Without another crack of getting things right next week, nobody wants to make a Week 17 mistake.
Those competing to the very end don't have to worry as much about resting implications. Beware of starting any Washington Redskins, who are buckled into the NFC's No. 4 seed. Everyone else, however, is fair game to normally use.
The flex position has befuddled many managers for 16 weeks, so don't expect an easier decision to end the season. Select players fluctuating from top option to dud prove the toughest ones to rank. Their ranking placement warrants a start in most leagues, but nobody will feel comfortable while hoping this is a game where everything goes right.
|1||Devonta Freeman, RB, ATL||Antonio Brown, WR, PIT|
|2||Julio Jones, WR, ATL||Julio Jones, WR, ATL|
|3||Odell Beckham Jr., WR, NYG||Odell Beckham Jr., WR, NYG|
|4||DeAngelo Williams, RB, PIT||Devonta Freeman, RB, ATL|
|5||Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN||DeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOU|
|6||Antonio Brown, WR, PIT||Brandon Marshall, WR, NYJ|
|7||DeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOU||DeAngelo Williams, RB, PIT|
|8||Doug Martin, RB, TB||A.J. Green, WR, CIN|
|9||David Johnson, RB, ARI||Allen Robinson, WR, JAX|
|10||Darren McFadden, RB, DAL||David Johnson, RB, ARI|
|11||A.J. Green, WR, CIN||Jarvis Landry, WR, MIA|
|12||Brandon Marshall, WR, NYJ||Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN|
|13||Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE||Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE|
|14||Allen Robinson, WR, JAX||Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN|
|15||Tim Hightower, RB, NO||Calvin Johnson, WR, DET|
|16||Doug Baldwin, WR, SEA||Brandin Cooks, WR, NO|
|17||Calvin Johnson, WR, DET||Doug Baldwin, WR, SEA|
|18||Charcandrick West, RB, KC||Jeremy Maclin, WR, KC|
|19||Lamar Miller, RB, MIA||Eric Decker, WR, NYJ|
|20||Eric Decker, WR, NYJ||Doug Martin, RB, TB|
|21||Brandin Cooks, WR, NO||James White, RB, NE|
|22||Latavius Murray, RB, OAK||Mike Evans, WR, TB|
|23||Frank Gore, RB, IND||Javorius Allen, RB, BAL|
|24||Jarvis Landry, WR, MIA||Tim Hightower, RB, NO|
|25||Javorius Allen, RB, BAL||Jordan Matthews, WR, PHI|
|26||James White, RB, NE||Darren McFadden, RB, DAL|
|27||Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN||Greg Olsen, TE, CAR|
|28||Karlos Williams, RB, BUF||Emmanuel Sanders, WR, DEN|
|29||Jeremy Maclin, WR, KC||Lamar Miller, RB, MIA|
|30||Mike Evans, WR, TB||Kamar Aiken, WR, BAL|
|31||Sammy Watkins, WR, BUF||Sammy Watkins, WR, BUF|
|32||Allen Hurns, WR, JAX||Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI|
|33||Eddie Lacy, RB, GB||Michael Floyd, WR, ARI|
|34||Denard Robinson, RB, JAX||Delanie Walker, TE, TEN|
|35||Emmanuel Sanders, WR, DEN||Charcandrick West, RB, KC|
|36||Jordan Matthews, WR, PHI||Danny Woodhead, RB, SD|
|37||Matt Forte, RB, CHI||Allen Hurns, WR, JAX|
|38||Jeremy Langford, RB, CHI||Bilal Powell, RB, NYJ|
|39||Michael Floyd, WR, ARI||Latavius Murray, RB, OAK|
|40||Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI||Golden Tate, WR, DET|
|41||Jeremy Hill, RB, CIN||Frank Gore, RB, IND|
|42||Greg Olsen, TE, CAR||Matt Forte, RB, CHI|
|43||Martavis Bryant, WR, PIT||Michael Crabtree, WR, OAK|
|44||Chris Ivory, RB, NYJ||Martavis Bryant, WR, PIT|
|45||Rashad Jennings, RB, NYG||Amari Cooper, WR, OAK|
|46||Kamar Aiken, WR, BAL||Gary Barnidge, TE, CLE|
|47||Delanie Walker, TE, TEN||Travis Kelce, TE, KC|
|48||Bilal Powell, RB, NYJ||John Brown, WR, ARI|
|49||C.J. Anderson, RB, DEN||Zach Ertz, TE, PHI|
|50||Michael Crabtree, WR, OAK||Karlos Williams, RB, BUF|
C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos
C.J. Anderson has teased owners before. The Denver Broncos running back has twice eclipsed 100 rushing yards and found the end zone this season. He followed each outburst with eight uneventful touches, generating 38 yards one time and 54 the other.
While the 2015 first-round fantasy pick didn't reach triple digits Monday night, he registered his fourth touchdown of a disappointing season. He split the carries evenly with Ronnie Hillman, but he tallied more yards on his 39-yard touchdown run than his backfield mate earned all night:
|Player||Rush||Rush YD||YPC||TD||Rec||Rec YD|
This isn't a new development from Denver's rushing tandem. Anderson is averaging 4.6 yards per rush, putting him right on par with last season's 4.7 average. Hillman lags far behind at 3.9.
As highlighted by Rotoworld's Raymond Summerlin, the production gap has grown even wider throughout the season:
CJ Anderson has 445 yards on 70 carries since the bye (6.36 YPC). Ronnie Hillman has 423 on 126 carries (3.36 YPC).— Raymond Summerlin (@RMSummerlin) December 31, 2015
In a post on DenverBroncos.com, Anderson admitted to playing at less than full strength earlier this season.
"It was also a positive that on Monday, I finally felt like I was getting back to getting healthy, which is a good thing," Anderson said. "At the start of the season, I was struggling getting healthy. It was tough. Your body isn’t your body when you’re injured."
Anderson ran far better than Hillman against the San Diego Chargers, but he received seven carries to Hillman's 19. If given a hearty workload against a defense relinquishing 4.7 yards per carry, Anderson would easily rank inside the top 20 rushers while making a case for top-10 consideration. Unfortunately, fantasy players can't assume NFL coaches will make the right moves.
Upside makes him an intriguing flex play, but limited opportunities also cover him in risk.
Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders
Amari Cooper started his career with commendable consistency for a rookie. While he frequently hovered between 45-50 receiving yards per game, an uninspiring tally for a high-end wide receiver, the Oakland Raiders' first-round pick had at least established a steady floor.
He has since tore up the carpet and punched holes through the ground. Cooper has compiled 10 yards or fewer in three of his last six games. Yet he also sprinkled in reminders of his star upside, recording 115 yards against the Tennessee Titans and 120 yards and two scores two weeks ago versus the Green Bay Packers.
Per NFL.com, the Kansas City Chiefs have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts. They have also, however, yielded the third-fewest points over the last four weeks. Entering the final weekend, only the New York Jets defenses brandishes a lower completion percentage:
|1||New York Jets||56.7|
|2||Kansas City Chiefs||57.1|
|3||Green Bay Packers||58.5|
When Cooper faced Kansas City a month ago, he found middle ground by collecting four catches for 69 yards during a 34-20 loss. The Chiefs have surrendered 12.3 points per game through their nine-game winning streak, so the Raiders were fortunate to muster that much offense.
Despite recent no-shows, Cooper has corralled 70 catches for 1,050 yards this season, ranking as NFL.com's No. 20 wide receiver. His Week 17 stock takes a hit due to recent struggles and a difficult matchup, so treat him as a No. 3 wideout in standard and point-per-reception (PPR) leagues.
Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers
A top-10 wide receiver entering the season, Randall Cobb ends it as a fringe flex play.
The Green Bay Packers' top wideout continues to crumble amid a floundering offense. He reached a nadir last weekend, registering 15 receiving yards on three targets.
Over/Under: 59.5 receiving yards for Randall Cobb in Week 17?
Disgruntled owners can't blame the bad day on Patrick Peterson. According to ESPN.com's Mike Clay, the Arizona Cardinals cornerback only lined up against Cobb on 12 of 41 routes. Clay also noted Cobb's deteriorating results.
"After sitting fifth among wide receivers in fantasy points through Week 3, Cobb has finished a week better than 25th at the position only once, in Week 9," Clay wrote. "His average finish is 48.3, and he has been outside the top 30 in nine of 12 games in that span."
His last touchdown came on Nov. 22 against the Minnesota Vikings, whom he'll face again Sunday. Don't get too excited, as he recorded two catches for 24 yards that day. Also, five games without a touchdown isn't great for a guy who is averaging 52.8 receiving yards per game.
As a result, he didn't crack the top 50 on the standard or PPR front. He's not far behind, but he's an uninspiring flex play for someone who is paying for targets and brand value.